A recurring dilemma: Labour and marriage contracts in three generations of women in Sweden

Project leader

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2005
End date: 31/12/2007
Funding: 1500000 SEK


The aim of the project is to capture and analyse the various ways in which married/cohabiting women have combined paid work, unpaid work and family life during the post WW II period. Three generations of women in Sweden, with various class and ethnic backgrounds, are interviewed about how they have managed this dilemma. The gradual movement of women into paid work and the accompanying changes in the organisation of production, family life and reproduction are fundamental features in the process whereby gender relations have changed during the last fifty years. The change can also be described as a transfer from patriarchal capitalism - where women's unpaid work at home was a prerequisite for the reproduction of waged labour - to a post-industrial economy where the dual earner family is the normative ideal for the organisation of gender relations. In the Swedish welfare state, the expansion of the public sector has enabled women to carry the Swedish equality project into effect. However, the conflict between paid work and care, production and reproduction is not erased. On the contrary, the character of the conflict is changing, its main focus being transplanted from formal rights in relation to working life to more complex cultural and symbolic domains where economic and social differences between men and women are constantly recreated. Mechanisms in this long-range change are the focal point of the research project.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:56